OCDSB trustee proposes mandatory face masks for all Ottawa public school students this fall
OTTAWA -- An Ottawa Carleton District School Board trustee wants all students to wear face masks in schools this fall, including students in Kindergarten to Grade 3
Trustee Lyra Evans will introduce a motion at Tuesday's OCDSB meeting recommending "the board require the wearing of facial coverings at school for students in Grades K-3 whenever reasonable."
There would be an exemption for students with medical or other conditions.
Under the OCDSB Back to School plan, face masks are mandatory for all students in Grades 4 to 12. Masks will be "encouraged" for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3.
The OCDSB says all students in Grades 4 to 12 and all staff will be provided with masks and required to wear them in the building. Classroom-based staff will be provided with face shields.
The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority recommends all students wear masks; however, only students in Grades 4 to 12 are mandated to wear masks on school buses.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches has been invited to speak to trustees during Tuesday's meeting.
Speaking on CTV Morning Live Monday morning, OCDSB Director of Education Camille Williams-Taylor said she is comfortable with the current Ontario Government guidelines for mask use.
“Our commitment is to follow the guidelines and implement the guidelines as shared by the Ministry of Education, which is 4 to 12,” said Williams-Taylor.
“We do also recognize that there are a variety of different perspectives from the health perspective of our community, our medical officers and such who have different opinions about how it is that K to 3 masking would work.”
Williams-Taylor says the OCDSB is working within the current face mask guidelines implemented by the Ontario Government.
“I am comfortable with that.”
The Toronto District School Board voted last week to require all students and staff to wear face masks in classes, including Kindergarten to Grade 3.